SONG OF THE CROW
Once upon a time, all birds flocked on a common ground
to sing melodies they had gathered round
their ruffled plumages flying earth
each with songs their syrinx had kept.
First came the nightingale singing out its gay bronchus
of sultry tales and late tryst couples
who would forsake sleep over night
till they were chased outdoors by midday’s light.
And in turn, the kingfisher told stories of worms
and how all of the ocean was turning warm,
the Kakapo of his going kind,
the Quetzal of how she’s still queen of the wind
The skylark poured out its heart into a soft short trill
the woodpecker melodied with the bill
owls hooted, sparrows chirred
all birds spinning songs only their hearts ever heard.
Then it was the crow’s turn,
to tell stories of dried bones, dusty caskets and souls gone.
and so it began. ‘brothers of the sky,
every human soul sings this common cry when they die:
not all seeds that clutch the soil grow
not all fireflies in dark glow,
rains get to fall in season
the harmattan breaks its dry prison.
all kisses do not linger,
not all caterpillars flutter,
there is dusk and there is dawn
time kills everything beneath the sun,
The nubile waist sag, dimples, wrinkles
smooth faces crinkle like periwinkles.
we come to learn all at the ashes of our feet,
that there is time to breathe and to go beneath.
For not all seeds that clutch the soil grow
not all wind forever blows.
This is the verse sung by all souls
bored with the stillness of their tombs.
At midnight, every human soul sings this dirge,
I learnt it on each tomb I did perch’.
the best of existence
is in a door
just next to sleep.
deadness is a common language,
implanted in all our tongues.
A god would kiss us into life,
& make us a garden.
Poems © O. Chiedozie Kelechi Danjuma